Standardized approach through ISO

A standardized approach for quantification, monitoring and reporting is needed for GHG projects and any resulting emission reductions and/or removal in order to be comparable among intended users. Many initiatives addressing both internal actions by organizations and/or quality of carbon credits used for offsetting purposes have emerged throughout the years. Since the establishment of the Clean Development Mechanism, voluntary initiatives have applied carbon principles from CDM. However, the room for innovation is scarce and participation of emerging solutions in the voluntary carbon markets limited.

There is a need for a general, impartial and neutral initiative to enable deployment and scaling of prominent climate solutions. This is where ISO standards play an essential role.

A framework that utilizes terms and concepts designed to be compatible with other requirements and guidance from relevant climate policies, good practice, legislation and standards is essential to scale the market at the urgency we need. This means general requirements for climate projects that does not prescribe specific criteria and procedures for their implementation, but simply result in emission reductions or removal in addition to what would have happened in baseline scenario.


Climate change arising from anthropogenic activity is one of the greatest challenges facing the world and will continue to affect business and citizens over future decades. Climate change has implications for both human and natural systems and lead to significant impacts on resource availability, economic activity and human wellbeing. In response, international, regional, national and local initiatives are being developed and implemented by public and private sectors to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere as well as to facilitate adaptation to climate change. There is a need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge. ISO is the most competent body to produce documents that support the transformation of scientific knowledge into tools that will help address climate change.

What is ISO?

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work. ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of electrotechnical standardization.

Generally, all ISO standards are voluntary by nature, but many nations rely upon ISO standards for demonstration of compliance to national legislation and/or regulation.

ISO 14064

Climate projects and corporates reducing and offsetting their remaining emissions rely on the quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of mitigations associated with actions implemented and their operation.

The ISO 14064 standards provides clarity and consistency for quantifying, monitoring, reporting, validating and verifying mitigations to support sustainable development through low-carbon economy and to benefit organizations, project proponents and interested parties worldwide. Specifically, the use of the ISO 14064-2:

  • enhances environmental integrity of quantification of impacts.
  • enhances credibility, consistency and transparency of quantification, monitoring, reporting, verification and validation.
  • facilitates development and implementation of reduction and offsetting management strategies and plans.
  • facilitates development and implementation of mitigation actions through emission reductions or removals.
  • facilitates ability to track performance and progress in reduction of emissions and/or increase in removals.

For organizations implementing strategies towards a Net-Zero economy ICR promotes application of ISO 14064-1 and Icelandic technical script ÍST 92:2022 Offsetting with guidance on compensation and offsetting practices available at Icelandic standards.

ISO 14064-2 Greenhouse gases – Part 2: Specification with guidance at the project level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emission reductions or removal enhancements (ISO 14064-2:2019)

Despite the long title it´s the “go-to” standard for climate projects to rely upon and for GHG programs to support their standards with.

The ISO 14064-2 specifies principles and requirements and provides guidance for determining baselines, and monitoring, quantifying and reporting of activities intended to result in reductions of emissions or removal of carbon. It focuses on climate projects or project-based activities specifically designed to reduce emissions and/or enhance removals irrespective of a specific methodology being applied. It provides the basis for climate projects to be validated and verified. Application and demonstration of conformity to ISO 14064-2 enables access to the VCMs for climate solutions way earlier than the common practice in the market.

It includes requirements for the development of a specified project and its activities, including identifying and selecting GHG sources, sinks and reservoirs (SSRs) relevant to the project and baseline scenario, monitoring, quantifying, documenting and reporting the performance and managing data quality.

The ICR program

The ISO 14060 family of standards is program neutral and do not provide the necessary framework for registration of climate projects and generation of carbon credits.

Therefore, ICR has developed requirements to complement the ISO 14064-2 requirements.

This has been done to allow for registration of projects and issuances of carbon credits aligned with the objectives of the Paris agreement and relies on 1/CMA.3 Glasgow Climate Pact Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).